Instructables
Picture of Cola Can Battery
Cola can drinks are known to give you an energy boost, but what some people don't know is they can give you an electrical boost too. In this article we're going to show you how to make a cola can battery.


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Step 1: Materials Needed

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Materials:

  • A can of cola
  • A copper coin

Tools:

  • Can opener
  • Crocodile clips
  • Wire wool

Step 2: Cut Off Top

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Open your can of cola and pour the contents into a cup, put it to one side we'll be using it in awhile. Now using a can opener cut off the top of the can, put the top to one side. I'll show you a use for that in another article. Now clean and dry the inside of the can.

Step 3: Remove Plastic Coating

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The inside of the can has a protective plastic coating that we need to remove, so use your wire wool and get scrubbing. I found a way to speed this process up was to use a drill. Stuff a load of wire wool into the can and use a spade bit to rapidly turn it. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as you don't want to go through the can. Make sure you clear out any left over wire wool before you move on.

Step 4: Complete Battery Setup

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Pour the contents from the cup back into the can. Take one of your crocodile clips and attach it to your copper coin, then dip it into the drink. Attach another clip to the top of the cola can. If we take a reading we can see that we're producing some voltage.

Step 5: More Power

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To increase the voltage we can add a bit of salt, we can also connect our cans in series. Now we've got enough electricity to power a small LED.

Your not going to power your home anytime soon, but having a way to produce electricity from the things around you is always a cool skill.

Next we're going to show you how to get even more power out of your setup, with a small adjustment.
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Hysenburg much?
Lorax9810 months ago
Be careful with the drain cleaner, when reacting with the aluminum in the can, toxic chlorine gas and explosive hydrogen are released. It is good to know that some of us are still working on how to keep the world going in the event of disaster. Nice instructable!
clorine would be only be released when using salt chem formula (NaCl) thats where the chlorine would come from, but drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide) NaOH, doesnt have any chlorine, thus impossible for chlorine gas to be emmitted. only if u use hydrochloric acid, can chlorine gas be emitted.
Drain cleaner is not manufactured to medical or laboratory specifications. There are a lot of "may contain..." chemicals present. Let me know how it turns out.
where does the chlorine gas come from?
According to the National Institutes of Health's Household Products Database, the crystal form of DRANO is composed of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum. If your drain cleaner also contains bleach, it contains even more chlorine in each bleach molecule.

Chlorine is a part of most drain cleaners. Depending upon which you are using, there may be chlorine and/or hydrogen.
Go Repairs (author)  Lorax9810 months ago
Thanks for the advice, that's why I recommend if your going to attempt this (the drain cleaner part) you do it in a well ventilated place. Hopefully I'll do some survival/end of world type of stuff in the future. Thanks for leaving a comment.
also that drill bit you used would have got threw the side of that can it would have ripped your hand apart next time don't use a spade bit, get a wire brush attachment
Go Repairs (author)  wizard4nh310 months ago
Your more than fine to use a spade bit as long as your careful and take your time.
Creeper34657 months ago
so what produces the electricity? is it the acid or the chemicals?
Go Repairs (author)  Creeper34657 months ago
Well in the first part with the cola it's citric acid and the more powerful reaction at the end is from sodium hydroxide.
isn't the final picture breaking bad sytle?
Go Repairs (author)  charlie-lee-rhee8 months ago
Yeah, well spotted. :)
jvoutselas9 months ago
Srry but do u need to use wool
Go Repairs (author)  jvoutselas9 months ago
No, you could use something else to take the plastic coat off - like sandpaper.
Bowtie419 months ago
I like it.I was wondering with all the comments about eating through the can.Cans have some sort of lining(plastic,epoxy,whatever)to protect the contents from reacting with the metal,right?
Go Repairs (author)  Bowtie419 months ago
Yes the inside of the can does have a plastic coating that you have to remove (as shown in the video and step 3 of this article).
I guess what I meant was would it be feasible to put a piece of aluminum in the can so it doesn't eat through the can and make a possibly dangerous mess.Does anyone have any idea how long it takes the Draino to eat through,to prepare for the mess?Maybe use a energy drink can,they are usually thicker.
Go Repairs (author)  Bowtie419 months ago
You could swop the can for a plastic or glass container, just remember to keep the lid off and do it in a well ventilated area. As for how long it will take to eat through the can - I don't know as I didn't check. But I did noticed it was making a mess of the coin.
backscan9 months ago
Hmm I wonder how well this would work with a potash solution
Kayak Kid9 months ago
well done.
Go Repairs (author)  Kayak Kid9 months ago
Thanks.
Lorax989 months ago
According to the National Institutes of Health's Household Products Database, the crystal form of DRANO is composed of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum. If your drain cleaner also contains bleach, it contains even more chlorine in each bleach molecule.

Chlorine is a part of most drain cleaners. Depending upon which you are using, there may be chlorine and/or hydrogen.
DragonDon9 months ago
I love stuff life this! You never know when it might come in handy! Thanks!
Go Repairs (author)  DragonDon9 months ago
Thanks.
SLEDHEDONE10 months ago
Today's penny's are not full copper they are only coated,, pre 1973( don't quote the year but I know it's 73 or 72) penny's are.
astrong010 months ago
If I am correct there is only one penny in there yes? If so what if you had a copper pipe in there?
Go Repairs (author)  astrong010 months ago
Yes there is only a penny in there, the idea was to show how to make a battery from the things you may find in your home. If you use better materials you may get better results.
peanuthacker2310 months ago
You should try making rechargeable batteries, so far I've been working on some but have only got two working ones. One of mine actually got to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit whuke charging and only reached a peak of .9 volts... had a cycle life of five.
Go Repairs (author)  peanuthacker2310 months ago
I might look into that for a future project, thanks for the suggestion.
Yeah it's pretty fun, I'll post an instruct able on a rechargeable battery ye next time I make one...
sorry I meant while not whuke! oh well. anyways it was fun making a ton of the batteries that heat up like crazy, sticking them in shrink wrap, and watching them heat up, shrink the shrink wrap, and short themselves out...
LeanDean10 months ago
I assume that any copper, such as old wire or old plumbing, can be used. Thanks for a nice variation on battery technology.
Go Repairs (author)  LeanDean10 months ago
Thanks. Yeah your right you could use a different form of copper.
Polymathic10 months ago
Forgive me, this may be a stupid question:

How long does such a battery last? For example, in the LED experiment, how long could the solution power the LED before tapering off?
Go Repairs (author)  Polymathic10 months ago
The first part where I used cola, I couldn't see that lasting long. But the second part with drain cleaner seems as if it would last longer. I couldn't say for sure as I had to do that outside and it was a rainy day so had to pack up early.
petercd10 months ago
Drain cleaner usually contains caustic soda which is going to munch through that aluminium can fairly quickly. Better to use a glass jar with lead sheet and caustic soda to make an alkaline battery instead of the usual lead acid types.
skylane petercd10 months ago
But... but... but.... it wouldn't be a Cola Can Battery!
;)
krayonc10 months ago
Great to know, especially If one's mobile meth lab ever breaks down in the NM desert.
Go Repairs (author)  krayonc10 months ago
Yeah you should be up and cooking in no time.
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